My Favorite Things

….on the Olympic Peninsula….

We’re on vacation exploring the magnificent beauty of the Olympic Peninsula and getting to know Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, and Olympic National Park.

The airbnb  where we’re staying is on a cliff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The octagonal structure in the photo below is where I’m writing this blog post.


Our temporary home is a former barn that has been beautifully converted into a comfortable dwelling filled with Native American, Mexican, and Americana art, quilts, and rugs. I spent more than a few hours on airbnb looking for a place to stay, and my research paid off.


There are lush gardens on the property and a tree farm across the road along with a view of the magnificent snow-covered Olympic Mountains. Sea in the backyard, mountains in the front yard.




I love the weathered colors and textures of this old structure. It is a workshop/studio filled with fabrics – I believe one of the owners is a textile artist, and several of her quilts grace the walls where we’re staying.



Below is the interior of the little octagonal retreat, which comes equipped with a heater and bookshelves. All you need is a mug of hot coffee or tea to feel right at home. You can see a reflection of the view in the top half of the photo.

Early this morning my husband saw two bald eagles perched on a tall, dead tree nearby. It had rained in the night, and the pond visible in the first photo was filled to overflowing.



I’d started reading Braiding Sweetgrass back home, and I’m continuing to read it slowly, a chapter at a time. A good companion is Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land by Robert Michael Pyle, who writes of the extensive logging that has stripped the Willapa Hills of southwestern Washington, where he has lived for thirty years.

I had the pleasure of meeting the author at the Wild Arts festival in Portland last fall. Note that there is an introduction by David Guterson in this edition. Robert Michael Pyle is a generous Santa Claus of a man who teaches every year at Fishtrap, a retreat for writers who are passionate about the West.




More later. I’ll tell you about a wonderful indie bookshop I visited, its dynamic owner, the person I happened to run into there in a moment of serendipity, and the books I bought.

Have you been to the Olympic Peninsula? If so, what are your favorite spots? Can you recommend books or authors connected with this part of the world?



19 thoughts on “My Favorite Things”

  1. There is little more that I like in summer than enjoying a rustoc spot, and hopefully seeing bald eagles such as you have. My favorite place to go is northern Wisconsin, where the cabins were built in the 20s, but it is too rustic for my husband, and the last time we went a red motorboat completely ruined the ambience for me. Anyway, so glad that you are enjoying the fruits of your research in such an idyllic place. Thanks for giving us a taste of your “vacance”.

  2. We drove up to the Hoh rain forest and took one of the short hikes through it a few years ago. It was breathtaking. We’d been reading Finn Fancy Necromancy and Hold Me Closer, Necromancers. I don’t know why Pacific NW YA authors are suddenly writing about comic necromancy, bigfoot, and using song titles as chapters, but it’s pretty fun.

  3. What a wonderful find! If you have time (and they are open) – most definitely visit Heronswood. It is wonderful! Also, visitFar Reaches Farm outside Port Townsend. They have some fabulous plants! You might even have to buy an extra suitcase! 😉

  4. I’m really enjoying following your travels, Val. And of course, your excellent book recommendations too. Great photographs that accompany the stories. I’m eager to catch up again soon.

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